December 28 | Comments (0)
Christmas is the only time of year I indulge my craving for butter tarts, This year I've made a couple of batches (some more successful than others), but I've eaten my fill and now have to run more often to burn off the crazy calories. I used a combination of recipes from old cookbooks to come up with the perfect tart.
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of raisins (or a little more if you want)
3 tablespoons milk
Use your favourite pastry recipe for the shells. Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into 4 inch rounds and press them into tart tins.
Combine the remaining ingredients and fill the tarts 2/3 full. Preheat the oven to 450F and bake the tarts for 4 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
July 20 | Comments (0)
Although your kitchen will swelter with the heat from the oven, I promise you the reward will be worth the sweat. Make sure you don't eat too much at supper, as seconds is a must with this dish. Why not just have it for supper... saves time. Serve with ice cream.
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unrefined brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
10 pears peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 180C. Place the flour and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix it together. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture, keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the white sugar. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit. Butter a 9 X 13 inch ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.
July 1 | Comments (0)
Saturday we spent the day lying in the park, enjoying the summer sun and playing frisbee. After a long day of doing not much we were treated to a fabulous cake that my wife had prepared the night before. This one is pure sin....
Using the cake base you can add just about any filling you can think of, Nigella suggests using jam...I prefer the real fruit.
for the cake (taken directly from Nigella's - How to be a domestic goddess):
225g unsalted butter, very soft
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (if using processor)
3-4 tablespoons milk
2x21cm sandwich tins (about 5cms deep), buttered
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. If the tins are loose bottomed, you don't need to line them, otherwise do.
I always make this basic sponge cake in the food processor, which involves putting in all the ingredients except the milk and processing until you've got a smooth batter. Then pulse, pouring the milk gradually through the funnel til your cake mixture's a soft, dropping consistency.
If you want to make this the traditional way, cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour between each. Fold in the rest of the flour and the cornflour, adding no baking powder, and when all's incorporated, add a little milk as you need.
Pour and scrape the batter into the tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are beginning to come away at the edges, are springy to the touch on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 mins before turning out and leaving to cool completely.
This is our bit (not taken from nigella):
2 punnets strawberries, green bits removed and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
Mix strawberry slices and sugar in a large bowl. Stir and place in the fridge until you're ready to eat your cake.
When you're all set to dig in, put one of the cakes on a plate and spread with whipped cream. Scatter strawberries on top of the whipped cream, place the second cake on top of that. Spread whipped cream on top of the second cake, and add strawberries as before.
June 30 | Comments (0)
When you want something unhealthy, but need to convince yourself that it's good for you, this is the treat. Tis the season for fresh apricots (it works equally well with peaches though), and there's very few things as tasty on a hot summers eve.
12 apricots, halved and remove the stones
1 tablespoon of butter
For the syrup
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (or a vanilla pod cut in half)
Place a frying pan over medium heat, once hot add the butter and apricots. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan bring the water and sugar to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until it starts to thicken. (If you're using a vanilla pod, add it at this point.) Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Once the apricots are soft all the way through, take the syrup and pour it over the appricots, stiring over the heat for another minute. Serve over ice cream.
Whenever we get invited over to dinner, it often includes a none to subtle hint for my wife to make a dessert. This time she decided to try a recipe out of Jamie's Italy which she recieved for her birthday. The recipe is called Nada's cake and is made with grapes...although we used the suggested alternative of blueberries and it was fabulous. I suggest you give it a try...but you'll have to buy the book given that whole copyright thing.